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MiniDV Advice please

stryker

TRIBE Member


So I'm going to New Orleans for the Mardi Gras and I'm gonna buy a minidv to make my own "Girls Gone Wild" j/k
I regretted not getting one of these before I went to India so I don't want to make that mistake again.
I was thinking about getting the JVC GR-DV801U MiniDV Camcorder. It's in my price range and it's got most of the features that I'm looking for. Has anyone used this? Any better suggestions?
Thanks

Stew
 

OTIS

TRIBE Member
I picked up a Canon Optura 20.. awesome cam for under $1000.

It won PC Mag editors pic for 2003 -they said it was the only consumer level cam to be good enough to suppliment pro level shooting. No complaints here..

I decided to put that to the test so I did a side by side shooting with it and a pro level canon XL-1 we have at work & it beat it in clarity, slightly behind in saturation.

Hold up I'll pull up the comparison..
 

stryker

TRIBE Member
Thanks Otis.
I just checked out the PC Mag Review and some other reviews for the Optura 20 and there hasn't been bad thing to said about it. For under a thousand bucks this seems to be the best choice buti've still got to do some shopping around. I was hoping for a camera with a USB connection, but it's not essential.

Stew
 

OTIS

TRIBE Member
Fuck, Rogers foobarded my hosting account so I don't have access to the comparisons until Monday sorry.. but here's a list of reasons why I picked up my camera. I wrote it for someone else who enquired about it.



Pros:
====

* It doesn't need drivers to connect it to the PC for capturing/editing through a firewire cable. I've fooled around with more than a few consumer level & pro level cameras, and as far as connectivity goes.. this one blew me away. Within 10 seconds of connecting it, I loaded up my editing program and captured what I just shot. The still camera element connects & transfers through USB and needs a small driver install. The reason this is a big deal is because most consumer level cameras come with proprietary software which require you to have installed before you can do anything with the camera through computer. Sony does that allot and because their programming department sucks their software is useless, making editing with their cameras a pain in the friggen ass. For software, I use Vegas Pro 4.0.

* Image quality is superb. As I mentioned, I work for a company that does video/audio production, and we have a few top pro-Mini-DV cameras here. And I did a side by side test. The Optura 20 blew away our Canon XL-1 in terms of sharpness & contrast. The XL-1 had slightly more colour saturation, but lacked the detail of the optura 20. Again, the XL-1 is a pro-level camera so this was astounding.

This is the XL-1 camera I put it up against.


*Not to big & not to small. The problem some people run into with cameras is they get them too small.. this results in allot of shakiness. The Optura 20 is a perfect 'in-between' size, and allows for steadier shots. Although most cameras include an image stabilizer (including the Optura 20) the smaller you camera is, the more shaky shots will turn out. My dad has this tiny sony cam and by watching the footage from it, you'd think the shooter had parkinson's.

*Mechanical control. Of course it has an automatic setting, but you can also adjust the focus manually, shutter speed manually, exposure manually and a whole range of other settings, including a super night mode where a bright built-in LED light illuminates a dark room enough for a slow shutter shot. As a bonus, you can also add aftermarket lenses onto the camera from wide angle to UV to polarizing lenses. It also has a 16x optical zoom, which is excellent.

* MiniDV is the cassette format it uses. This is the only consumer-level format that's also used in the pro world, for a few reasons. The tapes are cheap. They are digital. They are broadcast resolution. They record in DV-AVI -a digital video file format that's easy to capture & edit with.

Cons:
====

*I wouldn't mind if the still camera part of it was slightly higher resolution, but it's fine with me. I mean it's no Nikon F70 but it can take stills that print out 6x4's fine at this rez.

*shutter speed gets fairly slow during low light conditions, but still keeps the image flowing fine.

*the tape is bottom loading, slightly a pain to reload a tape if it's mounted on a tripod, as you gotta take it off, then remove the shoe then eject the tape.

*The LCD view screen is big, but the resolution of the LCD view screen is slightly less than it's counterpart's, it's totally fine though cuz it'd not like it effects image quality.
 

OTIS

TRIBE Member
Originally posted by stryker
Thanks Otis.
I just checked out the PC Mag Review and some other reviews for the Optura 20 and there hasn't been bad thing to said about it. For under a thousand bucks this seems to be the best choice buti've still got to do some shopping around. I was hoping for a camera with a USB connection, but it's not essential.

Stew
A firewire card is only $10 at most stores. USB transferring is slower, unless it's 2.0 -then it's comperable.
 
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stryker

TRIBE Member
Originally posted by OTIS
A firewire card is only $10 at most stores. USB transferring is slower, unless it's 2.0 -then it's comperable.
Originally I was thinking of doing all of the editing at work because there is a workstation with USB 2.0, but the more I think about it I doubt I'll be doing to much editing there, so it's probably gonna be firewire. Thanks for the info :)
Stew
 

Stormshadow

TRIBE Member
OTIS, what's the price tag on a XL-1?

I was thinking of getting a professional miniDV camera, but if you say ones at around $1000 produce similar results, then getting a pro one seems like a waste of money.
 

OTIS

TRIBE Member
Originally posted by Stormshadow
OTIS, what's the price tag on a XL-1?

I was thinking of getting a professional miniDV camera, but if you say ones at around $1000 produce similar results, then getting a pro one seems like a waste of money.
The XL-1 is around 5-6 grand.. without any add-ons.

You're basically paying for functionality.. the lenses are of much higher quality and you can switch the whole lens mechanism instead of aftermarket add-ons -and all the increased functions that gives, the image stabilizer is mechanical as opposed to digital, you can change mics, the CCD's are are a bit more advanced and don't produce as much noise in darker conditions, zoom levels are more incremental, has functions for external monitoring for hot editing or broadcasting environments.. all that jazz.

I'm not saying the $1000 consumer level ones are comparable in every arena, they produce different results in different conditions, but the Optura 20 produced image quality that was comparable, and according to PC mag was capable of supplementing some pro level shooting. If image quality is all you're looking for then yeah, you can compare the two, but if you're looking to do some pro level shooting, you have to factor in more than image quality.
 

Agatka8

TRIBE Member
Originally posted by OTIS


Cons:
====

*I wouldn't mind if the still camera part of it was slightly higher resolution, but it's fine with me. I mean it's no Nikon F70 but it can take stills that print out 6x4's fine at this rez.
Hey Rob... I see you're sharing our PMs now...:p

BTW I'm still working on my Canon Optura 20.

Hopefully I'll be picking up this camera sometime in March.
 
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Dialog

TRIBE Member
A friend who sells cameras strongly recommended that model, the PVGS70 - he owns one himself. 3 CCDs can't be beat. It was retailing for around $1800 last summer, now around $1130 at Vistek. Hands down, best for the money.
 

OTIS

TRIBE Member
Originally posted by Boss Hog
hey guys

I'm looking at cameras right now as well. What do you think of these dvd cameras?
DVD cameras are a gimick. They record on mini DVD's which are expensive as hell, especially for the RW ones. And setting aside the fact that they take a minute to boot up, write a TOC, and initialize before you're allowed to shoot, they record in mpeg2, so editing with them not only will create horrible generation loss (decode mpeg 2 to DV AVI, then back to MPEG 2), they wont allow set top play unless you close them which involves writing over the rest of the disc in single speed (you record 4 minutes on a 30 minute disc, it will take 26 minutes to close it). I had one and returned it the next day.

Don't ever get one.
 

OTIS

TRIBE Member
Originally posted by Agatka8
Hey Rob... I see you're sharing our PMs now...:p
Yeah.. figured I'd make use of it where it's useful to.

You should get someone to get one for your B-Day..
 
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